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Santa Margherita Orientale Chardonnay 1999
When you hear “Santa Margherita,” you probably think of their iconic Pinot Grigio. While they are proud to have led an entire generation of Italian white wines with this inspiring and much-loved favorite, there’s a lot more to their story. Santa Margherita represents the best of tradition, innovation, a passion for authentic and enjoyable wines, and respect for the people and the lands that produces them.
Over 80 years ago, Count Gaetano Marzotto led the revitalization of an abandoned portion of the Venetian countryside. Here, where rivers from the alps cut through the sun-drenched hills on their winding way to the Mediterranean shore, he created much-needed farmlands and restored traditional wine-making in what had been a region of fine vineyards since the time of the Roman Empire. Employing new agricultural science and a commitment to the needs of the Italian people, Marzotto gave this labor of love the name of his dear wife Margherita, and the first piece in the mosaic of Santa Margherita was set.
Since then, Santa Margherita has grown to encompass vineyards across Italy, from the Veneto to Tuscany, producing distinctive, authentic wines of deep tradition and regional character. Their wines are crafted for the evolving tastes of today’s fine wine lovers, and they invite you to pair the people and foods in your life with the Pinot Grigio they made famous, their brilliant Prosecco, their complex Chianti Classico Riserva or their delicate Sparkling Rosé.
They hold their entire organization to the highest levels of social responsibility and environmental sustainability while remaining committed to their Italian heritage. As they continue to thrive and expand, the truest measure of their success is being welcomed and enjoyed by you, today.
Producing every style of wine and with great success, the Veneto is one of the most multi-faceted wine regions of Italy.
Veneto's appellation called Valpolicella (meaning “valley of cellars” in Italian) is a series of north to south valleys and is the source of the region’s best red wine with the same name. Valpolicella—the wine—is juicy, spicy, tart and packed full of red cherry flavors. Corvina makes up the backbone of the blend with Rondinella, Molinara, Croatina and others playing supporting roles. Amarone, a dry red, and Recioto, a sweet wine, follow the same blending patterns but are made from grapes left to dry for a few months before pressing. The drying process results in intense, full-bodied, heady and often, quite cerebral wines.
Soave, based on the indigenous Garganega grape, is the famous white here—made ultra popular in the 1970s at a time when quantity was more important than quality. Today one can find great values on whites from Soave, making it a perfect choice as an everyday sipper! But the more recent local, increased focus on low yields and high quality winemaking in the original Soave zone, now called Soave Classico, gives the real gems of the area. A fine Soave Classico will exhibit a round palate full of flavors such as ripe pear, yellow peach, melon or orange zest and have smoky and floral aromas and a sapid, fresh, mineral-driven finish.
One of the most popular and versatile white wine grapes, Chardonnay offers a wide range of flavors and styles depending on where it is grown and how it is made. While practically every country in the wine producing world grows it, Chardonnay from its Burgundian homeland produces some of the most remarkable and longest lived examples. As far as cellar potential, white Burgundy rivals the world’s other age-worthy whites like Riesling or botrytized Semillon. California is Chardonnay’s second most important home, where both oaky, buttery styles and leaner, European-inspired wines enjoy great popularity. Oregon, Australia and South America are also significant producers of Chardonnay.
In the Glass
When planted on cool sites, Chardonnay flavors tend towards grapefruit, lemon zest, green apple, celery leaf and wet flint, while warmer locations coax out richer, more tropical flavors of melon, peach and pineapple. Oak can add notes of vanilla, coconut and spice, while malolactic fermentation imparts a soft and creamy texture.
Chardonnay is as versatile at the table as it is in the vineyard. The crisp, clean, Chablis-like styles go well with flaky white fish with herbs, scallops, turkey breast and soft cheeses. Richer Chardonnays marry well with lobster, crab, salmon, roasted chicken and creamy sauces.
Since the 1990s, big, oaky, buttery Chardonnays from California have enjoyed explosive popularity. More recently, the pendulum has begun to swing in the opposite direction, towards a clean, crisp style that rarely utilizes new oak. In Burgundy, the subregion of Chablis, while typically employing the use of older oak barrels, produces a similar bright and acid-driven style. Anyone who doesn't like oaky Chardonnay would likely enjoy its lighter style.